There's joy in the bundle
Based on Comcast Corp's. recent Q1 earnings report, the bundle
of video, voice and data services is providing lots of joy
for not only the cable giant, but for the industry as a whole.
The company gained 211,000 phone customers, and about 75
percent of them are buying high-speed Internet or another
service through the MSO's variety of bundle packages.
No surprise to analysts such as Bruce Leichtman of Leichtman
Media Research, however, whose fresh study on the bundle reports
that "consumers are increasingly likely to be in bundles."
Indeed they are. Leichtman found that 43 percent of consumers
say that they live in a household that currently receives
a bundle of TV, phone or Internet services from a single company.
And, cable subscribers are less likely to switch from cable
TV than those not in a bundled service agreement.
Another key finding: 88 percent of Internet subscribers also
get cable TV service, while only 48 percent of DSL subscribers
subscribe to cable-fed video services.
"The combination of TV, high-speed Internet and telephone
services is becoming increasingly important for both providers
and consumers. Those who are most likely to receive bundled
services tend to be younger and wealthier than average. And,
bundles appear to be providing the desired 'stickiness' for
operators," Leichtman concluded.
Once wireless service enters the bundle, it should get even
Siemens, Widevine go global
Communications Inc. has made Widevine
Technologies Inc. a certified content protection provider
for carriers delivering IPTV services to viewers via Siemens'
SURPASS Home Entertainment platform.
Siemens' SURPASS portfolio middleware provides a range of
IP-based video and on demand entertainment apps and offerings,
the companies said.
Why the deal? Copy protection is fast becoming a big issue
among IPTV and other content providers, with a host of tricky
back-office integration questions still being addressed.
Globecomm's SkyBorne headend
coming to town
has introduced its pre-engineered IPTV Regional Headend
(RHE) for telephone companies, broadband carriers, enterprises
and other video service providers.
SkyBorne, as the platform is called, will provide content
acquisition, content management, subscriber management, content
packaging and delivery to a carrier's distribution network.
Some key options include advertising insertion and video-on-demand.
What's the big deal? SkyBorne is allowing for origination
of more satellite-based IPTV services.
Oregan gives DaVinci the code
a media browser company, has licensed its IPTV client software
to set-top box company Sentivision,
the companies reported.
Oregan provides Sentivision with a set of silicon and OS-independent
software building blocks for enabling network entertainment,
with the flagship product of the two companies' collaborative
effort being powered by Texas
Instruments' "DaVinci" advanced video and graphics
Why the collaboration? Sentivision believes Oregan's software
"will resolve many end-user related issues, such as poor user
interface responsiveness, slow switch between applications
and limited interactivity," said Yoichi Akase, Sentivision's
CEO, in a statement.
A new set-top from Dasan
Networks, a Korean-based set-top (STB) manufacturer,
is launching a new IP-based device, the H920, that will support
HD and the H.264 codec. It is based on the Sigma
Designs SMP8634 media processor.
The H920 is the first IP STB from Korea developed and mass-produced
with Sigma's media 8634 media processor, the company said.
So why the new STB? It is designed to implement business
scenarios for broadband subscribers, including T-commerce,
T-banking, T-game, T-securities in addition to core services
of IPTV and VOD. Dasan, which was acquired by Siemens in 2004,
is mapping a course for VoIP into its line of set-tops.
And the research says...
Free Internet distribution of ABC shows like "Desperate Housewives"
and "Lost" will help connect the parent company (Disney) to
22 million U.S. homes that regularly stream video, predicted
Strategy Analytics, a global research and consulting firm.
The fast-growing broadband audience will soon rival traditional
TV, with more than 44 million U.S. households now subscribing
to high-speed Internet access via cable and telephone companies,
the research firm found.
It's also expected to test the patience of Disney-ABC's broadcast
and cable partners. "Using a still-developing broadband channel
to distribute flagship TV programming carries significant
risks for Disney," said James Penhume, director of Strategy
Analytics' Broadband and Communications Group.
"Disney has frequently clashed with cable and satellite companies
over licensing fees, and this move increases the potential
for further conflict," he added.
Cisco partners up with Intel,
Inc. is now working with Intel Corp., Nokia and Research
in Motion (RIM) among others, to drive adoption of voice-ready
wireless networks, the company announced.
Voice-ready wireless addresses the convergence of VoIP and
wireless networks and allows enterprises to extend the mobility
benefits of wireless networks to their voice communications,
So what's the big deal? The partners feel that by working
together, they can better allow enterprises to simply deploy
high secure clients that are interoperable and capable of
supporting advanced features required for voice.
Translation: There's strength in numbers and spreading the
risk around probably isn't a bad idea.
Interlink focuses on its XO's
Global Corp. will partner with XO
Communications to feed its U.S.-based VoIP service.
Interlink will use XO's infrastructure and IP transport services
to deliver VoIP to business and residential customers in the
US. The company will also use XO's services to support its
"NetTalk" point-to-point and multiparty video phone service
for home and business, the company added.
Why the agreement? Interlink Global is pushing into new business
and residential markets in the U.S., and using XO's VoIP infrastructure
is part of the push.
Minacom tests positive for
a service level test automation provider, will support triple-play
service validation using AM
Networks' DOCSIS power supply transponders as remote
test probes, the company announced.
The remote SMRP testing technique will allow cable MSOs to
deploy IP-intensive, real-time applications such as VoIP and
assure network test visibility at the service, network and
RF layers, Minacom said.
What's up with this testing? It's a testing technique designed
to accurately gauge a network's performance and quality.
And the research says...
VoIP users in Europe will generate nearly $2 billion in revenue
by 2009, with the phone service growing in importance as European
companies adopt IP strategies, reports Visiongain.
And IP-based services are the key. "Operators should focus
on deploying IP-based networks rather than worrying about
possible threats from VoIP. They ought to look at VoIP as
an opportunity to develop new revenue streams," says Dr. Jean-Pierre
Aubertin, a Visiongain analyst.
RCN unbundles modem tiers
has introduced a range of cable modem service tiers that do
not require the customer to tie them to other services.
On the low-end, RCN is offering a 1.5 Mbps tier for $16.95
- a potential draw for dial-up Internet users. The operator
is coupling that with a $29.95/month 5 Mbps service, and a
$39.95/month 10 Mbps service. All price points for these unbundled,
"naked" data services are considered "promotional," and require
new customers to commit to a 12-month service contract.
RCN also markets a 20 Mbps tier, but requires those customers
to bundle it with other services. In addition to drawing new
customers, RCN hopes the approach will entice them to tack
on other cable services.
"We also expect that [new customers] will find the RCN experience
a positive one and will migrate over time to our bundled Internet,
phone and cable services," said RCN EVP and Chief Technology
Officer Timothy Dunne, in a release. "Bundles will continue
to be the heart of the RCN value proposition."
Cogeco gooses modem speeds,
expands consumption caps
Canadian MSO Cogeco
Cable has increased the downstream cap of its flagship
cable modem tier from 5 Mbps to 7 Mbps.
The company is presently selling that tier for $34.95 when
customers bundle it to video service and agree to a 12-month
Cogeco also continued the controversial practice of enlisting
consumption caps, but is providing customers with a bit more
headroom. The operator said it boosted the monthly upload/download
bit cap for its "Pro" service from 30 gigabytes to 100 gigabytes.
Likewise, the consumption limit of its "Standard" tier rose
from 15 gigabytes to 60 gigabytes, and its "Lite" service
(known as the "Mini" tier in Quebec) will jump from 2 gigabytes
to 10 gigabytes per month.
Cogeco, which serves 1.46 million homes, said it added more
than 17,000 new cable modem subs in fiscal Q2.
Separately, the operator said it has extended IP telephony
services to customers in Stoney Creek, Ontario. Cogeco said
41 percent of its homes passed now have access to digital
Cox giving away some upgrade
is providing some free automatic upgrades to its high-speed
data service, offering up to seven e-mail accounts, increasing
e-mail storage to 250 megabytes, and coupling that with greater
spam control and mail management tools.
Why the freebies? Better value for customers in a very competitive
AT&T getting faster too
AT&T has added a higher-speed tier for its AT&T Yahoo!
high-speed Internet service. The "Elite" tier will offer downstream
speeds between 3 Mbps and 6 Mbps and upstream speeds of 384
Kbps to 768 Kbps.
Elite will sell for as low as $27.99 per month under a promo
that requires customers to bundle it with other services and
to commit to a 12 month service contract.
Following the promo, the monthly fee rises to $39.95 per month.